Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Partners in Crime March 16, 2015

It’s starting to feel a little more real every day. At first the whole idea of going back to baby square one with baby number two seemed so unreal to me. It was not that unlike how I felt about dear baby Carter. But I realized today how strange it is that somehow that feels like so long ago and like it was yesterday at the same time. I’m sure someday it will feel that way with the new baby too.

That day is not today. Today I was outside enjoying another warmish spring morning when it occurred to me. Summer is going to be a lot different this year. There’s only somewhere around 13 weeks left until the baby is going to come home. And I don’t think I’m ready. A Boy and His Dog

Carter and I have come to such a comfortable place. I protect him and love him and gladly accept his snack cup scraps throughout the day. We’ve come so far from the days of his regular and piercing newborn cries and the fur pulling and tail yanking. I sometimes can’t believe we’re going to have to start all of that business all over again.

I don’t know if it was the warmth of the sunshine or just that I slept well last night, but I realized that is exactly what makes it different this time around. This time, I have a partner in crime who sees things at my level. This time I have Carter. I don’t think he has any idea what’s in store, but that’s okay. Because I do. And between the two of us, we will figure it out.

I don’t deny that I was lonely and a little aloof for those first few months Carter was home. I think I honestly was a little bit depressed about no longer being the center of attention for my dear forever parents. They had their hands full – I get that. And they never stopped loving me – I know that, too.

The countdown is getting real these days. If I didn’t know better, that would scare me. But it doesn’t. Because this time I’m ready. Not just because I kind of have an idea of what to expect, but because I know I have a partner in crime who will keep me company.

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend,” suggested transcendentalist thinker Henry David Thoreau.

This time he’s the one that doesn’t know what to expect. So I will do what doggies do best. I will simply be his friend.

 

 

A Special Kind of Silver Lining March 7, 2015

Eight straight hours. That is how long dear baby Carter was awake today. It might not sound like much to the average person, but around here (to our beloved 14-month-old) it was an eternity. Because while there was some playtime and laughter, there was mostly crying and tears. Lots of tears.

It was the first time since he was little that my forever dad was around for a full day of it. More often than not, people ask “is he always like this?” when they encounter Carter’s smiley charming self. Today, it was his complete emotional breakdown that had dad asking mom “is he always like this?” Challenge

The answer is obviously no. Sure, he has his good days and bad days. We all do. But today was definitely want of the really bad no good terribly awful days that unfortunately do happen every once in a while.

I watched as my dear people went through all the usual emotional phases. Helplessness prevailed throughout, especially for dad, who is far less used to coping with an hour (or two) of crying at a time than mom and I. From my best guess, it was a battle between Carter and teething pain, and poor Carter was losing by a landslide.

Then it happened. After eight straight hours of primarily emotional turmoil (for all of us, not just Carter), he fell asleep. I watched as his swollen eyes closed just above what had developed throughout the day into a painfully crimson nose. He was on dad’s shoulder when it happened.

It was the first time since he was little that dad held him like that. I’d say seven or eight months have gone by since it last happened. But that is where he wanted to be, and none of us questioned it. So there we were, the four of us, in the soft glow of the afternoon sunlight, silent and watching as Carter finally gave in to the necessity of sleep.

Somehow everything that had happened in the last eight hours seemed inconsequential.

It took time. And lots of tears. And it’s nothing I would wish to happen to anyone again any time soon. But in its own unique way, it forced us all to be still. And be together. That is its own kind of special silver lining in my book.

 

 

 

With My Love March 5, 2015

It’s supposed to be easier the second time around. I’m supposed to worry less and be less concerned with each and every little thing that happens. And to some extent, I do.

But throughout my dear forever mom’s pregnancy with baby number two, I can’t help it. I care, so I worry. It’s as simple as that. Those who know me say I’ve been especially needy lately, but I’m not sure that’s an accurate portrayal of what is happening in my heart right now. My heart hurts with excitement and anxiety and joy and fear for my forever people, who will bring home a new little person in a few short months.

So I snuggle. Hi Baby

It’s not that unusual for me to assume position on mom’s lap the second dear baby Carter isn’t occupying the space. I still cram myself into the smallest crevice of space next to her on couches and chairs. And today, something happened that made my heart skip a beat.

I felt the baby. I had my head on mom’s tummy as we sat together in the afternoon sun while Carter napped. I was dreaming about something or another when it happened. I felt a kick. And another. And another. It startled me out of my sleep, that’s for sure.

I couldn’t help but feel a bit sentimental about when that happened with Carter all those months ago. It’s crazy to think about now that he’s a frolicking 14-month-old. And even crazier to think about what that tiny kicking little person will look like 14 months from now.

That’s when I realized I am doing it again. I care, so I worry. That’s why it’s not any easier the second time around. I worry now just as much as I did with dear baby Carter. Because she’s my person. My forever mom is just that – and she will always be my world.

I’m cherishing my time with her, and protecting her in the only way I know how. With my love. So what if they call me needy? These are special times around here, and I’m not going to miss a single minute of it.

 

That Crazy Toddler Tornado February 11, 2015

I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me about it six months ago. While my sweet baby Carter was just starting to crawl around, he moved at a relatively unalarming pace. Now he runs basically everywhere, never mind whatever obstacles might be in his way. He climbs over legs and toys and runs into things like wall corners (and me) from time to time, but there is no stopping him.

It’s something with which we’ve all come to be very familiar around my forever home. It’s also why I can now say with some amount of experiential knowledge that baby proofing is an evolving process that doesn’t stop with outlet covers. Things need to change around the home to accommodate someone approximately two-feet tall who constantly runs and grabs and climbs anything in his path simply for the sake of exploring and understanding the world around him.

So it was interesting to me to watch today, as my dear grandma was here spending time with Carter and I. Carter was in an especially excitable mood today, which means there was plenty of activity that more than effectively qualified him as a toddler tornado. From the second he woke up from his morning nap to that second his head settled into his favorite spot of his crib for his afternoon nap, he was moving. Quickly.

Sleeping on the job

And my grandma was moving with him. She chased him (which is one of his very favorite games right now) and let him crawl all over her and chased him some more. And when it was time for his nap, she said something I’ve heard my forever mom say so very often. If only she could nap too.

Because let’s face it. The kid is exhausting. I get tired just watching him, let alone chasing him around like I see some of my favorite people do day in and day out. But no matter how real the exhaustion may feel, I see something else in these people I can’t help but share.

I wouldn’t have guessed it six months ago, when Carter was just figuring out how to maneuver himself around. And that’s not a bad thing. The surprise has been in seeing that right along with the fatigue and sore muscles in my people comes something pretty special. Joy. From the ground up, it has a way of following that crazy toddler tornado around almost like the rainbow that follows a big storm. And believe me – it’s worth the wait.

 

Beneath the Surface January 28, 2015

It was a quiet sound. Almost like a cat purring. Except it was just loud enough I could tell something wasn’t quite right. And it was coming from dear baby Carter’s room.

It wasn’t exactly a cry. I guess you could call it a moan. It was a sad sound, and it was happening for a while last night. A few hours after it quieted down, there was crying. Then more sleep. Then a bit more crying. And then it was morning. Sleep.

Between the moaning and the tears, it was kind of a rough night around here for everyone involved last night. No one slept well, including me. But today made up for it right quick. It should be noted we were all obviously (more than a bit) tired as we tackled the day. Yet there was something about the day that felt different. Something special was happening, though I didn’t know what until later.

I definitely felt left behind as mom and dad and Carter piled into the car this afternoon. I could tell wherever they were going was a source of much excitement and anticipation. I was right.

When the returned just over an hour later, they had news. Big news. They had all gotten to see my new little person during something called an ultrasound. They had gotten to count ten fingers and ten toes and see the baby’s little nose. They had gotten to find out whether Carter will be getting a brother or sister.

And mom had gotten to breath a sigh of relief about something she had been quietly worrying about. As you may recall, dear Carter was somewhat of an acrobat before he was even born. Always kicking and bouncing and rolling around. Even I could see (and near the end even feel) the action all unfolding beneath the surface.

So far with the new little person, there’s been none of that. Mom has felt very little movement compared to what she had already felt at this point with Carter and it was worrying her more than she let on. It turns out there is indeed a scientific reason for this (something or another about the placenta being in a certain place), and that mom may just feel less this time around than she did with Carter. That wouldn’t be a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, given the grief all that activity gave her in the long run. Beyond that, though, it was a relief for her to know things seem to be progressing well and there is (at least from what they could tell) nothing to be worried about.

I’m not sure what caused dear Carter’s sleep issues last night (though I suspect that nasty thing called teething). Nor am I sure what tonight will bring. But I do know we should rest easy in knowing things are going as best as they can for the time being. And that’s a mighty peaceful thought.

 

 

News To Me January 22, 2015

I’ve heard it more than once from family and friends. It’s a joke they say sometimes when they find something out they already knew. I think it’s a reference to a television show or something they all like, but I’m not sure exactly. What I do know is I like the idea behind the words, as a joke or otherwise.

“That is brand new information,” they say. Most recently it happened when my forever mom shared the news of her pregnancy with some friends in cyberspace and Aunt Morgan said the words. She’s obviously known for a while that she was going to be an Aunt again, so it was a funny thing for her to say (at least for those of us in the know with the inside joke). Surfing the world wide web

It came to mind for me today while Grams was over to watch dear baby Carter. She hasn’t spent quite as much time with him lately since mom was working from home a little more than usual, and I can tell she missed him dearly. (I think she even missed me, but that’s beside the point). When mom left to go to that place called work, serious playtime ensued. There was lots of reading Carter’s favorite book and reviving some of the toys he’s been ignoring lately. There was a general sense of silliness in the room, as Carter engaged in a number of his usual antics (like a baby version of downward facing dog where he peaks at you upside down through his legs). But they really were new to Grams. And she loved every minute of all thing new to her, even if they weren’t necessarily new to him.

As a creature of habit, new things aren’t always my favorite. But as I watched the joy in the room today as Carter went about his usual silliness, I realized the wonder and merriment all things new can obtain. I used to worry about how much is new to Carter each and every day. He knows nothing of heartbreak or war or poverty or crime right now. All he knows is love and joy and laughter. But I think I’ve changed my mind.

Because seeing things like what I saw today gives me peace in knowing those are the lenses through which he views all things new in his world. All kidding aside, there is nothing wrong with that.

 

A(nother) Big Reveal January 19, 2015

Excitement. Worry. Joy. Fear. These are an odd combination of emotions to feel all at once, but not necessarily at the receipt of any kind of big news. Not necessarily at the receipt of this kind of big news.

I’ve known it for a while, but opted to respect whatever timing element I did the last time around. That’s saying a lot as a doggie who wears his heart on his proverbial sleeve. I am usually pretty terrible at keeping secrets because I make it a goal of mine to be as emotionally present in the moment as possible. To me, that means sharing joy and all things blissful with anyone and everyone that will take it.

So the last few months have been pretty rough, keeping this news to myself. Especially given the impact it is having on my forever people.

I’m going to be a big brother! Again!

I honestly think I knew before mom did, just like I did with dear baby Carter. (Dogs have a sixth sense about these things). There was an almost immediate change in her heart rate, her smells, and her general persona. Joy. In a word, that’s what this secret contains.Big announcement!

This is big news. This is life-changing news. But this time, the news brought with it a little larger sense of fear and worry than last time. The idea of having two little people under two running around our forever home has its downsides. Those sleepless nights will return all too soon. Life will become a balancing act for all of us as the schedule is uprooted yet again. Money is already tight as it is – what will happen with another toddler in the house? And the diapers. So many diapers.

But then there’s the joy. So much joy. Family. Love. I’ve never seen my parents closer than they are since they brought home dear Carter, and I have no doubt another child will continue to foster their emotional growth. So what if it’s a little scary? These things have a way of working out. Besides, I’m just so excited to become a big brother again, and even more so for my little person to feel the love in this forever home of mine. Mom is home to me, and I know she will be home to the new little person. June 16, here we come!

 

 

The Best Kind of Way December 28, 2014

A year ago today I had absolutely no idea what I had in store. I was going about my business keeping mom’s spot on the bed warm as she wrapped a couple of last-minute Christmas gifts for an after-Christmas holiday party. Everything about the scene was as I’ve seen it dozens of times: her traditional Christmas movies played in the background as she sampled from a tray of goodies she only lets herself eat once a year while she wraps presents.

But this time something was different. At nine months pregnant, it was an issue for her to walk comfortably, let alone wrap an attractive present. I was getting frustrated even watching it happening, but she stayed calm. She took her time and ended up wrapping those two presents just as beautifully as the first round she’d completed days ago. So what if it took her an hour? Dad was out running errands. All said and done, it was a pretty typical day.

Hi Carter

Hi Carter

What happened a few days later when they brought home dear baby Carter for the first time was life changing. I knew it would be, but I don’t think anything could really have prepared me to the extent to which everything I knew in life would change. From the daily (and for those first few months nightly) routine I’d come to appreciate to the constant effort that is baby-proofing to the presence of this new little person, my forever home would never be the same.

I remember being a bit resentful after the initial excitement wore off. As much as my instincts told me to protect this tiny screaming bundle of “joy,” I couldn’t help but notice how much time and attention dear baby Carter was taking away from me. So I kept my distance and slowly re-integrated myself into a comfortable rhythm in this new life.

I thought I might regret that decision, but now I realize it was the smartest thing I could have done. It allowed me to do one of the things I do best – observe. I listened as Carter’s cries morphed into various forms of happy babbling and have since started to resemble words and sentences. I watched as rolling turned into crawling. I stood by as walking turned into running.

And I’ve learned so much. Life has changed a ton since that quiet moment with my mom all of those months ago. Through all of it, I’ve learned about perseverance and how to survive the ultimate form of sleep deprivation. I’ve learned the value of relationships as I’ve seen almost all of those in my circle come closer together. I’ve learned what it means to adapt and be flexible and understand that sometimes there are days that things just don’t get done.

That is why I can say with confidence this year has indeed been life-changing in the best kind of way.

 

Wishing For Tomorrow December 11, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:55 pm
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It’s a million dollar idea. Seriously, I think if I could somehow figure out a way to create the product and get it to the right people, it would be life changing. Not just for me. Not just for my family and friends. But for millions of families like us.

A baby translator that accurately identifies what a baby is saying from birth until words happen. Sure, I know this is not a new concept. I’m sure that anyone with a new baby in the house has thought about it more than once. I know because I have. I remember all kinds of months ago when my forever mom and dad brought dear baby Carter home the first time. The first few weeks were brutal. So. Much. Crying. So. Little. Sleep. It was hard on all of us.

Hi Carter

Hi Carter

Things are so much different now. There’s a lot less crying and a lot more sleep for all of us now, so I think it’s safe to say life is a much happier place these days. But now there is a whole new kind of translation I wish I could wrap my mind around.

Carter has taken to babbling in a way that I swear he’s saying things. On purpose. In full and complete thoughts. The problem is (almost) everything he’s saying is complete and utter nonsense. I do think I hear some words intermixed. He’s been saying mama, dada, doggie, hi and yay for a while now. That’s different. These are like full conversations he’s having with himself, his toys, the ceiling, and mom and dad.

That all changed this week as he’s started talking to me. Today in particular, I was laying in one of my favorite spots in my forever home when it happened. “Yola dada doggie,” or something was amid his message within a entire five minute conversation he had with me this afternoon. He was petting my ear while he talked softly to me about whatever he was saying. And I loved every minute of it.

In those moments I had a new-found understanding for all those times mom says she wishes she could translate what he’s saying into real words. It’s funny since I simultaneously hate seeing him grow up so fast so the last thing I want to do is wish away time. I know that’s what we all do when we wish for him to be able to talk.

I know my million dollar idea is probably not unique. I’m sure some have even attempted to craft such a contraption. But today as I listened to dear Carter’s little words in my ear, I realized how important it is not to focus as much on what we want as what we have. To embrace today instead of wishing for tomorrow. Because today is pretty special too.

 

What A Heart Attack Feels Like December 10, 2014

Incorrigible. That is the only word I can think of to describe dear baby Carter today. He’s now perfected the skill of feeding me straight from his high chair, but that is something I can tell my dear forever people don’t particularly appreciate. Yet he and I carry on with what I’m understanding is apparently sassy behavior.

But that’s not all. A couple of months ago he started handing things over to mom and dad when they asked for it. Today, I watched in surprise as he gestured like he was going to hand whatever object that was being requested over, and then yank it back to his chest. Every single time, there was a devilish look in his eyes, like he knows he what he was doing is mischievous. Like anything, that is all well and good in moderation. He’s a good kid and I trust mom and dad will work with him to understand the difference between sassy and polite.The causer of heart attacks

What happened tonight on the other hand made my little doggie heart stop. I think I learned tonight what a heart attack feels like.

It was after dinner time and everyone was preoccupied with something. Mom, dad and I were all cleaning house in our own way (mine involved leftover peas) when it happened. The safety gate that is, for probably about 23 and a half hours of every day, always (always) up by the stairway was not in its usual place. And Carter noticed.

Time seemed to slow to a complete halt as we all saw the worst happen before our eyes. We all could picture exactly what would happen had dad not swooped in and grabbed Carter in the last second. It wasn’t willful defiance. It was childish ignorance. And it was terrifying.

As he learns to roam the world on two feet and clap when he’s happy and wave hello and goodbye, it’s easy to forget something pretty fundamental. He still has so very much to learn. Right now, it’s pretty simple – don’t attempt to journey downstairs until you know how. But there’s something about the incorrigible look in his eyes lately that tells me I don’t have to worry. I know I won’t be around to see him grow up, but I know his persistence will one day become strength. Knowledge will become power. And if he falls down life’s proverbial stairs, he will know where to go from there.